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RoRo '96 Reflects Peak Activity Of Sector Orderbook

The RoRo '96 Conference and Exhibition is scheduled to take place in Liibeck, Germany, on May 21-23. Anticipation for the event is growing, as the world orderbook for this niche totals more than 80 new vessels. According to conference organizers, the location for the event reflects the Port of Liibeck's utilization of advanced technologies for RoRo handling, and the frequenting of new generation RoRo vessels and ferries in Liibeck and Travemiinde harbors. An extensive conference program has been arranged, with an emphasis placed on a few key issues, namely: the debate over use of fast or conventional tonnage; new RoRo investments, such as large, deepsea RoRo carriers and RoPax vessels; port development planning and terminal development; and safety.

According to Richard A.B. Sim, RoRo '96 conference director, "There's going to be talking about: should the RoRo ships be fast, or should they be conventional?" He added, "Kvaerner Masa-Yards' paper does analyze will it be fast or slow ... People are also going to talk about whether feeder ships will be RoRo or LoLo." Notable presenters at the conference include representatives from the world's most influential design sources, including Phil Hercus of Incat Designs, and Kai Levander of Kvaerner Masa, who will explain why his company recently ordered fast newbuildings after extensively evaluating existing tonnage. Discussions on new sector investments will include presentations on shortsea vessels, such as Sweden's SweFerry, and deepsea vessels, such as Wilhelmsen Lines' MK III vessel. Grimaldi's series of large multi-purpose carriers will also be discussed, with participation by Fincantieri.

Another promising conference presentation concerns the replacement of three large trailer ships of U.S.-based Totem Ocean Trailer Express with a new design which has high military utility. The discussion is likely to center on National Steel and Shipbuilding Co.'s (NASSCO) fourth order for a RoRo-equipped strategic sealift ship, which parallels four RoRo contracts awarded to Avondale Shipyards for strategic sealift vessels. A paper will discuss the 35,000-gt, four-freight deck RoPax vessel for SweFerry, which is being built by Astilleros Espanoles — whose yards have reportedly attracted two more such contracts from Cenargo, with an option for two additional vessels.

A visit to Liibeck's port facilities will include inspections of TT Line's Robin Hood, held up to be the world's most environmentallyconscious RoRo ship, and the Finncarriers-operated FinnPartner, a large combi-RoRo. Several rounds on RoRo survivability will be heard, including safety presentations by the U.K. Marine Safety Agency, SNAME's RoRo Safety Panel, and Det Norske Veritas. In a pre-show interview with MR /EN, Mr. Sim offered evidence as to the growing RoRo sector. "You start off in a mode of transport and you don't know where you're going," he stated, continuing by discussing the market's evolution. According to him, in the heady days of RoRo shows, "Everybody wanted large RoRos to ship heavy equipment out to the Middle East." He stated that today's show delegates are experienced RoRo and LoLo operators. "They're not looking to go into RoRos ... These people aire now looking at the MK III vessels." He continued, "These peopld know the trade. The trade is being used in a much more productive way and this is being reflected ir the number of ships ordered New ships are being ordered ever week." The conference directoil added that "heavy input from the operators" is expected at RoRo '96J which is good news for the equips) ment suppliers who will be ir attendance at the concurrent exhi-| bition.

For more information, contactl the RoRo Conference Secretariat,! BML Business Meetings Ltd., 21 Station Rd., Rickmans worth, | Hertfordshire, WC3 1QP, U.K., tel:| +44 1923 7766363; fax: +44 1923 777206.




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